Diversity the key to survival
DAVID HARTIGAN optimistic about GW3’s ability to help the mining support sector.
Wednesday 27 July 2016
Deputy Chairman of the Resource Industry Network (RIN) in Mackay David Hartigan, expects the newly formed regional lobby group known as GW3 will play an important role in helping the mining support sector to diversify.
The GW3 initiative is funded by the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday Regional Councils and will establish a single representative body for all business groups operating in the greater Whitsunday. In doing so, it will provide a badly needed bargaining body for local business at the State and Federal Government level.
“One of the problems we have had since the Mackay Whitsunday Regional Economic Development Corporation was closed down around two years ago, is that we have not had an authorised body to negotiate on our behalf for a part of the Northern Australia development fund,” he told Shift Miner.
“While each of the industry groupings can advocate for their members, having a single group to represent the whole region will carry a lot more weight.
“So far as the membership of the Resource Industry Network goes, our members are doing a very hard slog at the moment, and I think 3GW will help businesses to look at where their skills can be used outside of mining.
“Most of us have been born and bred in the mining sector so seeing other opportunities where our skills could be applied is important.”
Speaking from experience, Mr Hartigan said the work they recently did for the Navy was a revelation about how transferable their skills were.
“What we discovered was that the work we were doing on mine sites with cranes and lifting systems was the same as the systems used in the Navy,” he said.
“They told us from the beginning that the Navy has very regimented procedures, but honestly compared to what we were accustomed to in an underground mining environment it was easy.”
Looking to the future, Mr Hartigan said while things are not easy in the mining support sector; he said everyone had accepted the new realities.
“Look I have heard people say there are green shoots around, but honestly, I haven’t seen them,” he said.
“Procurement is not getting any easier with the big miners, if anything it is getting harder.
“It’s been like this for three or four years now, and everyone’s pricing has adjusted, which means there is less resistance.
“But long term I - like most people - am optimistic about the local coal sector, if we weren’t I don’t think businesses would be continuing to battle on.”